The other day at a theology book store (I know, I’m a theology-geek), I saw a guy wearing a shirt that said, “Arminianism: I chose this shirt.” That made me chuckle.But lately, I’ve become starkly aware of my choices. Not of the shirt I choose to wear, but of attitudes, actions and words that are filled with my own selfishness, brokenness and rebellion against God. I choose to be impatient and snap at my children. I choose to be stressed. I choose to be greedy. I choose to be lustful. I choose to be proud. I choose to be lazy. I choose to be gluttonous. I choose.An Orthodox prayer that I’ve been praying lately at the ninth hour snapped this into focus:
“O Christ, at the ninth hour You tasteddeath in the flesh for our sake: mortify therebellion of our flesh and save us!In the midst of two thieves, Your cross wasrevealed as the balance-beam of righteousness;For while the one was led down to hell by theburden of blaspheming, the other waslightened of his sins to the knowledge of things divine.O Christ our God, glory to You!”
Two men on crosses. Physically closer to the crucified Christ than any other human beings. One chose repentance and consolation. The other chose rebellion and destruction. While I may be separated geographically and historically from that actual event, God’s All-Holy Spirit makes the crucified Christ real every moment of my day. And his cross is revealed as a balance-beam of righteousness as I choose: Impatience or peace. Stressed or trusting. Greedy or content. Lustful or virtuous. Proud or humble. Lazy or active. Gluttonous or self-controlled. Faithless or faithful. Will I choose to participate in a hellish life, driven by passions or choose to participate in the divine nature filled with love and holiness?Each moment, I can choose.Lord, have mercy! Mortify the rebellion of my flesh and save me from my passions.